Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. A popular tourist destination, Hohenzollern castle has over 300,000 visitors per year, making it one of the most visited castles in Germany. The castle sits atop the 855 meters Berg Hohenzollern, an isolated 855 m promontory on the western side of the Swabian Alps.

The first fortress on the mountain was constructed in the early 11th century. Over the years the House of Hohenzollern split several times, but the castle remained in the Swabian branch, the dynastic seniors of the Franconian-Brandenburgian cadet branch that later acquired its own imperial throne. This castle was completely destroyed in 1423 after a ten-month siege by the free imperial cities of Swabia. A larger and sturdier structure was constructed from 1454 to 1461, which served as a refuge for the Catholic Swabian Hohenzollerns, including during the Thirty Years' War. By the end of the 18th century it was thought to have lost its strategic importance and gradually fell into disrepair, leading to the demolition of several dilapidated buildings. Today, only the medieval chapel remains.

The final castle was built between 1846 and 1867 as a family memorial by Hohenzollern scion King Frederick William IV of Prussia. Architect Friedrich August Stüler based his design on English Gothic Revival architecture and the Châteaux of the Loire Valley. No member of the Hohenzollern family was in permanent or regular residence when it was completed, and none the three Deutsche Kaiser of the late 19th and early 20th century German Empire ever occupied the castle; in 1945 it briefly became the home of the former Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, son of the last Hohenzollern monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Since 1952, the castle has been filled with art and historical artifacts from the collections of the Hohenzollern family and the former Hohenzollern Museum in Schloss Monbijou. Among the historical artifacts of Prussian history contained in the castle are the Crown of Wilhelm II, some of the personal effects of King Frederick the Great, and a letter from US President George Washington thanking Hohenzollern descendant Baron von Steuben for his service in the American Revolutionary War. From 1952 until 1991 the caskets of Frederick Wilhelm I and Frederick the Great were in the chapel, but were moved back to Potsdam following German reunification in 1991.

The castle is still privately owned, with two-thirds belonging to the Brandenburg-Prussian family line.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1454/1846
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rogelio Galvan (2 years ago)
Amazing place with amazing view. The guided tour is nice to take, you can have a chance to see lots of historical antiques and a nice inside of the castle. You cannot take pictures inside of the tour but that's nice, that way you concentrate more in the guided tour. If you are around the area it's a nice place to be.
Anil Katti (2 years ago)
The view from the top is fantastic! You can drive up to the base of hill and park. From there you can either take a walk to the top or take the shuttle. It's one among the three hilltop castles. There are guided tours of the inside of the castle. Two of them per day are in English. It's good to take the guided tour. It gives the brief history of the castle and the house of Hohenzollern. The restaurant on top has a very good chocolate. It is good to visit during the spring. View from the castle is breathtakingly beautiful. Worth a visit with family.
Marshall Waddell (2 years ago)
A hilltop castle with a scenic walk or you could pay a few euros to take a shuttle bus up and down the hilltop route by road, tours are available in English and is the only way to see the inside of the rooms of the castle, 45 minutes on average. There is a cafe with its own beer. Recommend a visit.
michael hermann (2 years ago)
Absolutely stunning castle that must be seen! It's location is incredible and the view from the top is breathtaking. I highly recommend the guided tour that is also offered in English of the inside of the important chambers.
camille jackson (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle. The bus system to go up is simple and fast. The tour was great although you are not allowed to take pictures inside which is why I gave it only 4 stars.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Beckov Castle

The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.

The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.

The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.